Last year when I visited the United States over the holidays, the first meal I sought out was a gas station hot dog. It was something I missed and something I hadn’t yet discovered I could get at my neighborhood OXXO.
This year was different. This year my first stop was at a Taco Bell for a crunchy taco.
Which seemed like an odd choice to friends and family back in Illinois who assumed I must have had my fill of tacos.
But which made perfect sense to me since I hadn’t had a single crunchy taco since arriving in Mexico a year and a half ago. They may well exist, but they certainly aren’t the typical Mexican meal. At least not in Guadalajara where tacos tend to be small, circular and soft.
It’s just one of the many misconceptions that people in the United States have about Mexico. A harmless misconception, for sure, but one that shares a thread with other more harmful ones. A thread of ignorance which too often allows us to think of Mexico and Mexicans as somehow different.
When, in fact, the experiences I’ve had in Mexico are probably no more dissimilar than those a Midwesterner would experience if they suddenly found themselves on the West Coast or in the Deep South.
The people have the same concerns, goals, worries and wishes. Their day to day lives mirror those of their northern neighbors.
I came to Mexico expecting a foreign experience and what I found were soft shelled tacos.